It's been a long time since I've owned a Bronco! If any of you remember the old My Big Bronco Forum from the early 2000's, I was active way back then. I just joined in the hopes that I might find who is enjoying my old Bronco these days. It was a 1992 Bronco with a 302, automatic transmission, 8" suspension lift, 3" body lift, and at the time that I sold it, it was as bright of a yellow as you could imagine. It was a basic model without air conditioning, with vinyl chocolate brown interior, rubber floors (no carpeting) and a roll bar that I had added. It also had a very nice, custom prerunner style bumper that I had powder coated matching yellow.
This will likely be a long post as I recount some of my finer moments with the vehicle, so you if you prefer, please feel free to scroll down to pictures. If you know of this vehicle, have seen it, or know who owns it, I would certainly appreciate any info that you have!
I've owned a lot cars over the years, but this is probably the one that I look back upon most fondly. I went to college in PA and bought the Bronco from a used car lot on the East Coast after an incident with my previous car, a Ford Mustang GT convertible. I had hit some black ice on my way back to school and flew off the highway at 70 mph. Fortunately, the car stayed upright and I came to a gentle stop. The snow was so high that my driver's side door was held shut and I couldn't get out. I had to put down the convertible top and climb out in 15 degree weather to walk a mile down the road to get help. After I found someone, I walked back and sat in the car waiting for a tow truck. While waiting, I watched in my rearview mirror as the exact same thing happened to a Geo Tracker. Fortunately, that car ended up grabbing dry pavement pointing in the opposite direction, and rather than smashing into me, she flew into the center median between the highway. And then proceeded to roll her Tracker thee times and come to a rest upside down. I jumped out of the Mustang and ran across the highway, opened her door, unbuckled her seat belt that thankfully she was wearing, and eased her out of the car. Fortunately, she had a cut lip and that was about it. I sat with her until an ambulance came, and at that point, the same police officer that I had found when I walked down the road pulled up. I think he saw me, in my late teens, driving a Mustang GT convertible and figured I had been messing around. He thought I had wrecked by driving dangerously. When he saw the Geo upside down, he apologized to me and said he was going to shut that section of the road. Good idea!
While sitting there, looking over the Geo Tracker, it occurred to me that I would be dead if the Mustang had rolled. I didn't have a roll bar, and I would've been crushed. I started shopping for something safer the next day. A little later, I found the Bronco. Base, no frills, tough looking, and metallic poop brown. I loved it and bought it.
The next summer, my dad helped me paint it. It was at a time in my life when I was better looking, more fit, and certainly more willing to attract attention, so I chose the brightest yellow I could find. We painted it in my dad's garage, and when he moved out years later, there were still yellow specs everywhere!
A few years later, I graduated from college and headed back home to the St. Louis area. I had scraped together some money and used it to have the truck lifted at a place called Godmudders in the Chicago area. I just looked them up, and it appears that they're still in business and my Bronco can be seen in their gallery section. Always the discrete one, I went with a very modest lift - 11" total via 8" of suspension lift and 3" of body lift. I had them mount 40x17 Ground Hawg tires on 15x14" Weld wheels. Very subtle!
Shortly after that, I moved to California. I didn't want to put all those miles on the expensive Ground Hawgs, so I carried them on a rack that slipped into my trailer receiver and made the drive on the stock 29" tires. It looked ridiculous!
On the way out there, the Bronco broke down in Winslow, AZ. You know, of Eagles fame - "Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and such a fine sight to see!" I broke down on the 4th of July, on my first move as an adult out in the world by myself. It was amazingly depressing. Turns out the U joints failed due to the severe angle of the drive shaft - apparently from being lifted 8" higher than Ford ever intended. Fortunately, the local shop was owned by good people and, although it took two days, they got the parts they needed and fixed me up. They didn't charge me too much either, which was much appreciated since I had $1,500 to my name and no job awaiting me in California!
The rest of the trip was easy sailing, and when I got to my new home, I removed and sold the stock wheels and tires and went back to the monster tires. The truck fit in well in Hermosa Beach, and I even saw quite a few trucks that were larger. After landing a job, I bought a dirtbike and had lots of great off-roading adventures with the Bronco and bike. I removed the top when I got to Cali, and I'm not sure if it ever went back on until I moved back home three years later. Lots of great memories.
But, like all good things, Cali ended when I reunited with my ex girlfriend (now wife of 12 years) and moved back to St. Louis to be together. The Bronco wouldn't have it any other way than to give me an adventure on the way home. This time, I made it almost all the way. It was a 36 hour drive, if I recall, and I made it to a few hours away from home. By this time it was 4am and no one was on the road. I heard a weird screeching and the truck pulled to the left. I had no idea what happened, but I thought I might have hit an animal. Everything seemed OK, so I kept driving. A few miles later, I went to hit the brakes and there was nothing. The pedal hit the floor and I didn't stop. I was able to downshift and get off the road. In my sleep-deprived state, I decided to keep driving. There was no one on the road, and I drove slowly and downshifted to brake. I was on a mission to get home. An hour later, the entire left side of the car suddenly lit up. I pulled over and found the front left wheel on fire! I fanned it out and sat there deciding what to do. I finally unloaded my (street legal) dirt bike from the trailer behind the Bronco and decided to ride the final hour home.
Unfortunately, once I was back in the St. Louis area the Bronco didn't stick around much longer. I got pulled over by a cop one night that told me that the truck was illegal on many different levels. He gave me a warning, but also said that next time he saw the truck driving in its current state, and each time after that, he would ticket me. The first would be $75, and each subsequent ticket would be $500! Ouch!
I had two choices - remove the lift and return it to stock, or sell it and let someone else enjoy it. After much soul searching, I decided to sell. I listed it a few places, and believe the buyer found it on eBay. The buyer was a 15 year old kid and his dad, and they came up from Texas and collected the Bronco. I know the kid was really excited about it (I would've been too!). That was the last I ever saw or heard of the beast. I've searched Google dozens of times since, but have been very surprised to come up empty handed.
So, here are a few pictures.
This was the first drive home after picking it up from GodMudders. I was ecstatic.
These pictures are in front of the apartment that I moved into in Hermosa Beach, CA. I had just swapped out the stock wheels for the monster tires after my drive out there.
And this is was the truck looked like when I sold it - note the custom prerunner bumper and the smaller 37x12.5 Goodyears on 15x10" Weld wheels. This was how it looked the last time I saw it.
So, that's it. If anyone knows what happened to this Bronco, I would certainly like to hear more. It was a great vehicle and I made lots of great memories in it. I hope it's still out there making someone as happy as it made me.
Thanks for reading, and I apologize for the lengthy first post - I got carried away as I drifted down memory lane!